Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference is usually focused on software changes and the latest versions of iOS, macOS, and watchOS. The iPhone maker announced the new M2-chip-powered MacBook Air this year at the conference.
Today, Apple’s online store went down ahead of WWDC, suggesting some hardware releases were likely at the event. Suspicions were proven right since the company’s latest thin and light notebook, the MacBook Air, was launched.
All-New M2 Chip
It seemed like yesterday when Apple announced the M1 chip and its foray into custom silicon. Today, the company’s notebook announcement was accompanied by the launch of the new M2 chip.
The new chip is based on the second-generation 5nm process, allowing for 50 percent more bandwidth than the M1 chip, pegged at 100GB/s. Packing 20 billion transistors, the chip comprises an eight-core CPU and 10-core GPU with support for 24GB of LPDDR5 RAM. The CPU is made up of four performance cores and four performance cores. Moreover, the GPU is also a step up from the M1 chip’s eight-core GPU. The company claims the M2 chip delivers 87 percent of a 12-core chip’s performance while drawing just a quarter of the power.
These improvements in the silicon also translate into significantly better performance. Apple claims the chip’s CPU is 18 percent better than the M1 chip at the same wattage, and the GPU performance has been improved by 25 percent. The chip also packs support for 6K external displays and a next-generation media engine supporting 8K video.
Apple says intensive workloads like editing complex timelines on Final Cut Pro is 40 percent faster than the previous generation. If your only standard for comparison is an Intel Mac, Apple says you could notice up to 15 times better performance.
In Adobe Photoshop, applying filters and effects is up to 20 percent faster than before. The iPhone maker adds that customers who haven’t transitioned to Apple Silicon will notice 5 times faster performance.
On the battery life front, Apple says the new MacBook Air delivers better performance without compromising on the all-day battery life. The company claims you will be able to enjoy 18 hours of video playback on a full charge. Fast charging at 67W is supported through the (optional) USB-C power adapter. You should be able to recharge up to 50 percent of the battery in just half an hour using this adapter.
New MacBook Air
Apple’s latest MacBook Air is a big step up from the outgoing version. On the hardware front, the notebook sports a notched display surrounded by thick black bezels and a keyboard. It sports a MagSafe connector, two USB-C ports, and a headphone jack. A 1080p webcam has been integrated as well. The new image sensor is said to be larger and the “more efficient pixels” help deliver better low-light performance than the webcam on the M1 MacBook Air.
Meanwhile, the four speakers and three mics have been neatly concealed between the keyboard and the display. Spatial Audio for music and Dolby Atmos support for movies has also been baked in. The keyboard sports a full-height row of function keys with Touch ID. Apple says it has achieved a 20 percent reduction in the MacBook’s volume.
The laptop’s fanless unibody enclosure measures just 11.3mm thick while shut. It also weighs just 2.7 pounds. The MacBook Air packs a 13.6-inch Liquid Retina display capable of 500 nits peak brightness. The iPhone maker notes that the display panel on the new MacBook Air is 25 percent brighter than before. It also supports 1 billion colors now, making the notebook your ideal companion for content consumption on the go.
The M2 MacBook Air comes in four different color options, which are similar to the options on existing models. Classic Apple colors such as Silver and Space Gray are accompanied by a shade called Midnight and another new shade called Starlight. The latter resembles the color of champagne.
Pricing and Availability
The new 13-inch MacBook Air powered by the M2 chip starts at $1,199 in the US, with a $100 discount available for educational uses. You can pick up the new MacBook on the Apple Store website and mobile app. Retail availability is set to begin at an unspecified date next month.